The Benefits of Rowing as an Exercise

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benefits of rowing for exercise

If you’ve been to your local gym lately, you may have noticed that the first machines to be taken are the rowing machines. Why is that? What benefits do you get by exercising on a rowing machine?

There are lots of machines that will give you an aerobic workout, strength training will work the major muscle groups, and all exercise machines will burn calories, so what makes rowing machines so popular lately? The likely reason could be that more people now know about the benefits of using indoor rowers.

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Yes, there is more to a healthy body than working out – you still need to have a balanced diet, reduce stress, and get plenty of sleep. However, even when you have those things, your body still needs exercise, and rowing machine workouts have far more benefits than meet the eye.

If you want to burn hundreds of calories per hour, work out for less time, work all your major muscle groups, and improve your core strength (that means a ripped six-pack, my friends!), then rowing machine workouts will give you all that and more.

Sounds interesting? Keep reading. Seasoned rower or beginner, there’s a lot to learn about why using a rowing machine has become the hottest workout trend today.

The Physical Benefits of Rowing

Row, row, row your boat ( or an indoor rowing machine) to get a jump on an entire workout that is like nothing else!

people at the gym working out discovering the benefits of using a rowing machine

Whether you use a rowing machine at the gym or buy one for your home workout space, you get the same health benefits. Rowing elevates your heart rate, strengthens all the major muscle groups, increases endurance, and improves your overall health.

Here are the top benefits of using a rowing machine, friends.

Perfect full body workout

  1. Rowing is the perfect workout for everyone! From beginners to the more seasoned rower, and even people with eyesight problems or recovering from injury or illness can use a rowing machine. Most people with vision problems have difficulty finding an exercise routine that works for them, and one study found that rowing for 6 weeks offered tons of health benefits.
  2. Hello, full-body workout! OK, so the legs do most of the work, but the American Fitness Professionals Association says that rowing works 65-75 percent of your lower body and leg muscles, and 25-35 percent of your upper body and abs. If you want to improve both lower body strength, upper body strength, and cardio health at the same time, using a rowing machine is the way to go. It will get your heart pumping, your weight loss on track, and your entire body in its best shape!

Great for muscles, endurance, posture, and immune system

  1. Rowing is like several exercises rolled into one. Rowing strengthens your muscles, boosts your stamina, and builds new muscle tissue, aside from the fact that it’s a serious aerobic workout. This means that you get to kill several birds with one stone, so to speak, and spend less time working out. Just 20-30 minutes a day is all you need for improved overall health.
  2. Want dancer legs and arms? Nothing will tone those leg muscles like a rowing machine. This type of aerobic exercise will give you a complete upper body workout, so you will have a beautiful back, shoulders, and arms all in one workout. Oh yes, let’s not forget, if you want a booty that turns heads, using a rowing machine is the best way to get it! Rowing works the glutes, as well as the quads, so you can wear anything with confidence.
  3. Rowing will perfect your posture. Why care about posture? Most cases of back and neck pain are due to poor posture. Good posture will also help with your sense of balance as you age.
  4. Want a stronger immune system? Then you should have an indoor rower at your house! Studies show that exercising on an indoor rower will give you a stronger immune system!

benefits of rowing everyday

Rowing burns calories and fats like no other

  1. You’ll burn a substantial number of calories. Rowing burns calories more than any other sport, except jumping rope. To burn more calories than you ever thought possible, sit down on that rowing machine and go to it!
  2. Rowing is an incredibly versatile workout. Whether you want to do LISS or HIIT for fat loss, a rowing machine can do both!
  3. You’ll get super quick results. Because a rowing machine uses every muscle group, you will see major improvements in your muscle tone and weight loss in as few as 5 or 6 sessions. If you start today, you could be wowing your friends and family at their next poolside barbecue or over the holidays.

High intensity but low impact and safe

people at the gym learning the benefits of using a rowing machine

  1. Rowing machines are a super low-impact workout. If you have joint pain, bad knees, degenerative disc disease or other health issues, a rowing machine workout puts minimal stress on your joints. Getting a proper warmup before starting any workout is necessary, of course.
  2. Intensity but without injury. I love the fact that you can work out with maximum effort without any damage to the joints. Runners should use rowing in between their sprints to keep up with their aerobic exercise desires and put less wear and tear on the body. Since rowing also offers an upper-body workout, this is the perfect exercise machine for runners, joggers, and others.

Other Benefits of Using Rowing Machines

Aside from the physical benefits you get from rowing, there are more to it than what we’ve already mentioned. Here are some more reasons to stay engaged in this kind of fitness program.

Easy to learn yet fun and challenging

  1. Learning the stroke is easy. Some sports games take years to learn and, while it’s true that some machines require no learning curve (treadmills, for example), learning the proper rowing form and technique will improve posture, engage the core, and prevent back pain.
  2. Rowing can be a continual challenge. While the motions don’t change, you can work on increasing your heart rate or increasing the resistance of the rowing machine so that you have to work harder. Of course, you can always get competitive and try to beat your own time or, if you have a connected indoor rowing machine like the Hydrow or the Ergatta, you can race against others.
  3. Rowing is fitness + fun! You can row while you binge-watch TV, or go online and watch some rowing videos with beautiful scenery, or you can go with one of the newer connected rowers that offer games, racing, or super hyped rowing instructors on large, HD touchscreen monitors that are live and on-demand.

indoor rowing benefits

Improves mental and emotional health

  1. It’s almost like meditating! Many find that the repetitive nature of the row stroke calms the mind and puts you almost in a trance as you row. Using a rowing machine is not only good for the body but the mind as well! Feeling stressed? Row stress away and get a good dose of endorphins, those happy hormones that you release when you row.
  2. Change is good for the brain. If you don’t usually row, learning something new is good for our brains to help keep them flexible, and we’re not yet counting the increased amount of oxygen that reaches the brain!

Are Rowing Machines Expensive?

Like any other commodity, indoor rowers can be pretty expensive. The good news is that you can find a rowing machine for less than $500 (and many cost only $200!) This is a very small investment to pay for all the physical, mental, and cardiovascular health benefits of using a rower!

Why Invest in a Home Rowing Machine

Indeed, why invest in your health?

There’s every reason to invest in a high-quality fitness machine to start exercising yourself to good health. So why should you pick a rowing machine over a treadmill or stair-stepper? The benefits of using a rowing machine rather than other pieces of equipment include:

  • Rowing machines generally weigh less than treadmills, stairclimbers, or weight benches.
  • Many rowing machine models will fold so that they can be stored more easily.
  • Rowing machines that use water resistance or magnetic resistance are virtually smooth and quiet, so you can use them without worrying about waking your baby or annoying the neighbors.
  • Treadmills, ski machines, and stair climbers only offer a lower-body workout. Rowing offers both a lower body workout and an upper body workout, while improving your cardiovascular health.
  • While treadmills are technically low-impact, that is only true if you use them for walking. For runners, treadmills may help them reach fitness goals, but not without serious jolts or injuries to the hips, knees, and ankles. An indoor rower is nearly zero impact but still offers you a fantastic cardiovascular workout.

As you can see, you will enjoy countless rowing machine benefits, so if you’re planning on buying one, you should check out our guide to rowing machines here. You will find affordable options, too, so budget shouldn’t hinder you from attaining that lean and healthy bod.

Our Final Thoughts about Rowing Machines

rowing workout benefits

When you compare all the different types of exercise machines available for home use – be it ellipticals, treadmills, weight benches, assault bikes, and rowing machines – it’s pretty clear that you’ll get the most results in the shortest amount of time with rowing machines.

That being said, if you love bicycling and can’t wait to do a few miles on the treadmill every time you wake up in the morning, then you should definitely put one of those machines in your home gym.

However, for everyone who wants to lose weight or stay in shape, spend the least time for the most results, burn calories like a candle, have fun, and get aerobic exercise and strength training at the same time, using a rowing machine is the best possible choice.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why is rowing the best exercise?

Rowing provides a full-body workout that other machines cannot match, that’s why. Rowing machines are easy to use, you can learn the stroke technique in an hour or so, and you can burn tons of calories while improving your overall health in just 20-30 minutes a day.

2. Is rowing exercise a better workout than running?

Yes, it is. Rowing and running both burn a similar number of calories, depending on your weight and how fast you run or row. However, using a rowing machine will work the entire body, while running only works the lower body. Rowing is also low-impact and gentle on the joints, while running is high-impact, hastens wear and tear and may even cause or worsen an injury to the joints.

3. Is 20 minutes of using a rowing machine enough to get a full body workout?

Yes, it is! This is one of the biggest perks of rowing. You get aerobic exercise, build muscle, increase endurance levels, improve flexibility, and burn up calories by the hundreds in just one 20-minute workout. Using a rowing machine for just 20-30 minutes 5 or 6 days a week will give you all of the above physical benefits and more.

4. Can you lose belly fat using a rowing machine?

Yes, you can and you will! While you cannot spot reduce through any exercise, your body will burn fat when you increase your heart rate to 85 percent of its maximum and hold that number for at least 15 minutes. Your body will be forced to use fat for energy. While your body will decide where it wants to take the fat from (no one has control over that), you will eventually lose belly fat over the body while improving your overall fitness levels.

5. How long before I see results from rowing?

This will depend on your current fitness level, how often you work out, and the level of intensity you use during the entire workout. Rowing burns more calories than just about any other fitness routine, and weight loss becomes apparent very quickly. Some people have seen results after just 5 or 6 rowing workout routines, but the average time for results to become measurable and noticeable is after 2 weeks of regular exercise on the rower.

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